Trial of Bill Cosby for sexual assault starts in Pennsylvania
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Jun 04, 2017,
Jun 04, 2017, 18:08
Explaining that while Cosby's jury has been selected it won't officially be sequestered until the beginning of the trial, the judge said it was important to control the information that was released publicly at this stage of the proceedings. The most dramatic moment will come when alleged victim Andrea Constand enters the courtroom to tell her story and faces Cosby, whose legacy is on the line, for the first time since his arrest.
"We've had an O.J. hangover for many years", said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson.
"I believe as a matter of law, she should not be allowed to testify at all", argued defense lawyer Angela C. Agrusa, claiming allowing prosecutors to offer the "novel" testimony of the forensic psychologist to support their case "in the face of its inexcusable nearly 12-year prosecutorial delay" would violate Cosby's right to "due process". The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they are sexual assault victims without their permission, which Constand has given.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele was the top deputy in the office in July 2015 when Cosby's deposition was released and then-boss Risa Vetri Ferman made a decision to reopen Constand's 2005 police complaint. In that deposition, Cosby gave damaging testimony, allegedly admitting he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex. The news put a halt to his planned TV comeback and led networks to stop airing Cosby reruns.
"I was starstruck", Donna Motsinger, 75, one of the "Jane Doe" accusers in Constand's lawsuit, told the AP in an interview last week.
She was a single mother working at the Trident Restaurant, a celebrity hangout, in Sausalito, California, in the early 1970s when she met Cosby. The woman, who does not want her name published, said Cosby invited her to lunch at the Bel Air Hotel in 1996, then offered her wine and a pill that he assured her was safe. According to his deposition, he gave her three blue pills to alleviate stress before lying on the couch with her and engaging in sex acts. They say Cosby testified only after being promised he could never be charged. "The jury could say, 'Well, I'm not sure about that, but he's kind of a bad guy'". If convicted of the charges, Cosby faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison.
District Attorney Kevin Steele will be allowed to call one other accuser to suggest Cosby's conduct with Constand was part of a "signature crime". McMonagle is now joined at the defense table by Angela Agrusa, a Los Angeles lawyer who is also handling at least six lawsuits pending across the country between Cosby and various accusers.
Mr Cosby, 79, has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing in response to the accusations covering a series of alleged sexual assaults dating back to the 1960s, most of which are too old to be the subject of criminal prosecution.
Bill Cosby, center, arrives for a hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Norristown, Pa.